Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) isn't a Democratic senator anymore, and it would seem she's barely an independent. A new report from Politico reveals a number of interesting things about her recent activities.
To start, it would seem that Sinema has concluded (undoubtedly correctly) that Democratic voters, particularly the sort who are enthusiastic enough to get our their wallets more than year before the elections, are done with her. So, she's been making the rounds among Republican groups, trying to shake them down for money. She's also been palling around with Republican senators.
In addition to associating with Republicans, Sinema has developed a habit of badmouthing her Democratic colleagues. She claims she does not caucus with the Party anymore, and that she only remains a nominal member because she wants to maintain her committee memberships. She is also prone to making snobbish jokes, like making fun of how old many Democratic senators are, and how, as a result, their preferred food is Jell-O.
The game here is clear; Sinema wants to be a fusion Republican-Independent candidate next year. It is extremely unlikely this will work, however. First, Republican leadership, starting with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), is persuaded that she's still a Democrat, at heart. Second, even if the Republican leadership is ultimately convinced that she's turned traitor to the blue team, they can't control the nomination process (if they could, you would never have heard of Doug Mastriano, Dan Bolduc, or, most importantly, Kari Lake).
Sinema's only hope of forestalling a Republican opponent is to run as a Republican herself and win the nomination. But she surely can't do that, because she's way too much of a Democrat for Arizona Republicans. They aren't the type to say "We'd rather have someone who can win over someone who's ideologically pure." Further, if she runs as a Republican, she loses all of the Democratic votes, and most of the independent votes, she is hoping to hold on to right now. Meanwhile, if she stays an independent, she's still not going to pass the smell test with Arizona Republicans, and her pooh-poohing of the Democratic Party is going to alienate a lot of the Democratic voters who might still have stuck with her.
So even if the plan is clear, it's not going to work. Meanwhile, if Sinema really wanted to stay in the Senate, the easiest way would have been to just remain a loyal Democrat. After all, she already won election once that way. But now, with Sinema having scuttled a number of key Democratic initiatives during a time when the Party controlled the trifecta, that ship has sailed, and she's in no-politician's land. (Z)